Thursday, April 07, 2011

Iona Again!

Male Brewer's Blackbird
More glorious sunshine today here in beautiful BC and a trip out to Iona Island once again in the hope that the good weather had helped the migration. I wasn't disappointed!

After arriving at Templeton station around 9am I began the 6.7Km walk along Grauer and Furguson Road towards the Iona Island Causeway. Like my last visit a few weeks earlier (See Previous Post) the birding is quite surreal with the busy Vancouver International Airport to the left and the calm tranquility of lagoons, meadow and estuary on the other.

The walk down Furguson Road began quietly with little on offer but by the time I'd reached the entrance to Iona Beach Regional Park I'd recorded Red-necked Grebe, Bewick's Wren, Raven, Northern Shrike, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle a plenty and around ten or so Savannah Sparrow. I checked out the four treatment ponds at the sewage works which had the usual waterfowl, including Northern Pintail and Lesser Scaup, plus a half dozen Killdeer. While I was sorting the many Tree Swallows from the Violet-green in my binoculars I recorded my first Barn Swallow of spring, which flashed through my line of sight. It was also noticeable that a good number of Brewer's Blackbird were around the pools, I probably counted around two dozen before moving on.

When I arrived at the two artificial ponds the place was alive with birdsong! The Red-winged Blackbirds were constantly on the go, Tree Swallows were calling, along with lots of Marsh Wren singing from within the reeds. As I took the track that runs adjacent to the treatment ponds a Garter Snake crossed my path and a Virginia Rail was calling but not located.

American Goldfinch
As I continued my walk a stunning looking Goldfinch in full summer plumage, plus an Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen in the Silver Birch copse. Here I stopped for while to chat with a lovely lady called Cynthia and her husband, who are regular visitors to the reserve. Another Northern Harrier, plus Fox Sparrow on my way towards the parking area and lunch. The pools held Canvasback, Bufflehead, a lone Pied-billed Grebe and Ringed-necked Duck, plus I also watched a very pale looking Canada Goose, almost leucistic, for a short while.

During lunch I chatted with another local birder called Derek, who pointed me in the direction of a Myrtle Warbler he'd seen earlier, he also mentioned seeing two Caspian Tern out near the tidal edge, but I never managed to connect as by now the tide was way out.

After lunch I took the path along the Fraser River where a Wilson's Snipe flew south and then backtracked through the Silver Birch connecting with what may have been Derek's earlier Myrtle Warbler. I stayed for a while just listening to the song, spring was most definitely in the air, and then right on cue my first spring Osprey was overhead, circling for a while before moving off.